Power Rankings: No. 2 Denver Broncos

A weekly examination of the Broncos’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 3 | Last week: 3 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

After scoring at least 41 points in game for the fifth time this season (this time in a 45-21 win against the Washington Redskins), the Denver Broncos wheeled into a much-needed bye week and moved up a spot in the ESPN.com Power Rankings.

And with their 343 points in tow, they are the highest-scoring team in league history after eight games, while quarterback Peyton Manning’s 2,919 yards passing are the most by a quarterback after eight games. Manning’s 29 touchdown passes are already more than he had in six of his previous seasons as an NFL starter and the second-highest total after eight games, behind Tom Brady’s 30 at the halfway mark in 2007.

But what could be some additional bad news for others in the league? The Broncos finally showed a little of the defensive edge this past Sunday that they had in 2012, when they finished among the league leaders in virtually every defensive category. The Broncos held the Redskins to just 266 total yards, while Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III rushed for just seven yards on five carries while throwing for 132.

It was exactly the kind of effort defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio had been waiting for, and one Broncos coach John Fox declared as the unit’s best outing in a season that has been a struggle at times on that side of the ball.

"Without a doubt. ... I think for whatever reason we hadn’t executed as well up to that point," Fox said. "We have some real high-character guys in there and they decided they were going to get it right. That was as right as we’ve been up to this point."